The Constant Princess

By Phillipa Gregory

A book as padded as my lady’s sleeves.

This fictional recounting of the life of Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, reads like a teen novel. Driven by blind ambition to fulfill her parents’ plans for her, Catherine comes across as shallow and powerless, rigidly following her mother’s footsteps instead of thinking for herself.

The italicized journal entries tend to be repetitive and annoying. However, the book does fill in some of the gaps if your education about the history of the British monarchy is derived from Masterpiece Theater.

Author Phillipa Gregory has written better books. Many of us found the italicized journal entries to be repetitive and annoying.

The Author: Phillipa Gregory (1954 – )

Phillipa Gregory has been writing historical novels since 1987. She holds a doctorate in 18th-century literature from the University of Edinburgh.

Her first novel was Wideacre, the first of a trilogy. She writes often about the Tudor period, including The Other Boleyn Girl, The Queen’s Fool, and The Virgin’s Lover. Other books include The Red Queen, about Henry VIII’s grandmother; The White Queen, about Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of Edward IV; and The Kingmaker’s Daughter, about Anne Neville, wife of Richard III.

Gregory claims that historical accuracy is a hallmark of her writing but many historians take exception to that.


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